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Non-Violent Criminals Are Linked, By DNA, To Violent Crimes

Audio

Aired 6/17/10

The California Attorney General's office says DNA samples, taken from people arrested for non-violent felonies, have helped police identify many violent criminals. This information could bolster the case for Proposition 69.

— The California Attorney General's office says DNA samples, taken from people arrested for non-violent felonies, have helped police identify many violent criminals. This information could bolster the case for Proposition 69.

Proposition 69, which was passed in 2004, allows California police to take DNA samples from all people arrested for felonies.

The ACLU has challenged the law, saying it is an invasion of privacy and an unlawful search. The state attorney general argues the law is legal and it solves crimes.

The AG's office examined the cases of 69 DNA samples, taken upon arrest, which allowed police to link those suspects to violent crimes. Fifty-eight percent of the those DNA samples were taken from people arrested for property or drug crimes.

In one case, a man arrested on a drug charge was linked, by his DNA, to a 20-year-old murder in Sacramento. The study has been cited in briefs, filed in the court challenge of prop 69.

Comments

Avatar for user 'MattthewCScallon'

MattthewCScallon | June 17, 2010 at 10:33 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

I hate siding with the ACLU, given their opposition to the right to life and their opposition to the free speech of pro-lifers, but the ACLU is right. Unless the police can issue a warrant, it's an unlawful search. Someone who is charged with a felony is just that: charged. They are innocent until proven guilty. They have 5th Amendment protections. While I'm sure that they commented those other crimes, we have these protections against the overreaching hand of the State for a reason.

Now, once they're convicted, that's a different ballgame. They have been convicted and therefore lose most of their 5th Amendment protections.

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Avatar for user 'KelvinJeuneauSD'

KelvinJeuneauSD | June 17, 2010 at 12:19 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

I also agree, merely being charged for a crime does not warrant the collection of a DNA sample. After conviction, go ahead.

On the other hand, if you have not done anything wrong, why would you mind having your DNA sample taken?

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Avatar for user 'mapplebe'

mapplebe | June 24, 2010 at 11:29 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

How did they work this out with fingerprinting? You are arrested, they take your fingerprints as a mater of course, no warrant required. I think its fair to apply this to our upgraded technology. Maybe it should be limited to RFLP analysis or other methods that cannot be used to infer private medical information as that technology develops, but I have no problem with this in principle.

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Avatar for user 'MattthewCScallon'

MattthewCScallon | July 6, 2010 at 3:15 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

@mapplebe, good question. As I'm not an attorney, my opinion might not hold up in court, but here goes. Fingerprinting has met the scientific standard for credible sources; DNA matching is still relatively new. Also, fingerprinting is part of the booking process which a pro forma arrest warrant would make certain to include. Finally, fingerprints are things which are in plain sight. DNA usually involves internal extraction, unless the police can use trickery to capture your DNA from a volunteered source (eg. coffee cup).

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